Renewable Energy Inventory

Territorial Priorities

With our large landmass and diversified geography, we have substantial renewable resources that can be used to produce energy. Although we face common challenges and opportunities, each territory has its own unique conditions that lead to the prioritization of different types of renewable projects.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories has several new, large mines that have been constructed in recent years. While these operations rely on diesel for heat and power, some may be potential consumers for future renewable energy projects, particularly hydro and perhaps wind. Hydro development, including the proposed Taltson expansion, mini-hydro for communities, and the extension of the existing hydro grid are key priorities for the Government of the Northwest Territories. Wind is the most available renewable energy in high Arctic communities. The Government of the Northwest Territories is planning wind-diesel hybrid systems in the Beaufort region. A “Hub and Spoke” model for turbine deployment in remote communities has been adopted from the successful Alaskan experience. The proposed first installation in Tuktoyaktuk (the hub) will develop technical, operational and maintenance capacity for the smaller and more remote communities of Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk, and Sachs Harbour (the spokes).

The location of a wood pellet producing facility in northern Alberta on the north-south highway system provides the Northwest Territories with a unique opportunity to save money and reduce greenhouse gases by converting homes, businesses, and government facilities from fossil fuel to biomass heat energy. The Government of the Northwest Territories has aggressively stimulated growth in local wood pellet consumption in recent years by retrofitting many large public facilities with wood pellet boilers. The Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to build on this work by implementing the new Northwest Territories Biomass Energy Strategy.

Planned pilot projects for the use of geothermal energy for heat and power in the Northwest Territories also merit attention, and the geothermal potential underlying the southern parts of the territory is very promising.


Development of a wood pellet market is progressing. The first institutional installation of a wood pellet boiler is at the new Whitehorse Correctional Centre, and the consumption of locally available cordwood remains strong. The Government of Yukon has identified biomass as a strategic renewable sector, evidenced by work to develop a biomass strategy and a Northern Bioenergy Conference.

Growing demand for electricity in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors has prompted the expansion of a major dam in Yukon and the connection of the two existing grids, further supplementing the extensive hydroelectric regime. In fact, Yukon is the leading territorial jurisdiction in both hydroelectric and wind power.

Similar to the Northwest Territories, Yukon has high quality geothermal resources and the feasibility of several new projects is currently being examined. Finally, the ongoing initiatives to encourage energy efficiency have been effective in reducing the overall intensity of electrical and heat energy consumption. Demand-side management initiatives will increasingly be factored into energy supply planning.


The common challenges for a renewable North are compounded in Nunavut. Limited electrical grid connectivity, limited transportation infrastructure, cold climate, limited demand, sparse population, dependency on fossil fuels and human capacity issues remain persistent deterrents to the growth of renewable energy in the most remote territory. Several solar projects, both for electricity and air heating, are being developed across Nunavut to capitalize on the long summer days. Further, the availability and long-term potential of tidal and wind energy is as vast as the territory itself and far exceeds any predicted demand increase. Current plans for pilot wind projects will demonstrate this potential. The development of a wind program and supporting wind-hydrogen projects in Nunavut is another exciting step on the path to a renewable North.

There is also future potential for small and large scale hydro developments, which would be a new direction for Nunavut towards a clean and sustainable energy future. Furthermore, demand side management and smart grids are of interest to Nunavut and will be investigated in the future.

There is further room for energy efficiency improvements and the Government of Nunavut will undertake these improvements either directly or through supporting policies and programs.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Kane/Up Here, Dianne Villesèche/www.ravenink.ca and ArcticNet. © 2016 A Northern Vision